Some of the cookery school gals
The lesson kicked off with Yoko telling everyone what we were about to make and I gave out my wonderfully prepared handouts with some history of eating mince pies & drinking mulled wine. Good start. Next though was pastry making. I can hand on heart say reveal that this was the first time I'd ever made pastry. I somehow managed to convince them I knew what I was doing as each group would ask me to check the consistency of their pastry was right and I authoritatively would tell them they needed more flour/water etc. Hahahahaha
My class then went back to their stations and it was like police academy meets cookery school. Flour was everywhere, gooey dough sticking to the hands and then on the opposite scale dough that was falling apart at a touch. Somehow everyone managed to line their tins with pastry (although some poor buggers had to use muffin tins)
In comparison to the pastry, making the mincemeat was a dream. I think the Japanese ladies were a bit shocked at how much booze I poured into the mincemeat mixture, although I did note a few gleeful looks amongst them too.
I had used suet bought from the UK for the mincemeat (I'd at least had some sense that the Japanese wouldn't sell suet) but I hadn't anticipated them asking me on the spot what they could use as an alternative! Errrrrr....maybe cornflour I said?
The mincemeat worked out perfectly and I had a lot of "iee yo ne's" (smells good) and caught a few of them dishing out spoonfuls of the stuff to taste.
Next was the mulled wine, nothing too stressy here. They did find sticking the cloves into the orange halves quite fascinating and akin to poking a voodoo doll. I also made a non-alcoholic mulled wine with grape juice which didn't taste too bad (In Japan you can't even drink a sniff and drive)
I honestly didn't realise how tricky it is to line pastry tins. I cleverly decided against doing my own "show pies" during the lesson knowing they'd turn out like a dogs dinner. Awwww that wonderful fresh baing smell filling the kitchen and the mince pies were finally ready.
What do you think? OK they don't really look like mince pies but I didn't think we did too badly for a first attempt. Three and half hours later we were ready to sit and eat our freshly made pies and drink mulled wine.
Such a fab day full of laughs. I think everyone enjoyed themselves by the looks on their faces!